Beauty on the Grand Scale
A day inHúnaþing vestra
The beauty of Húnaþing westra, conveyed in its grassy heaths, majestic mountains, pillar rocks and sparkling lakes and rivers, truly sums up the uniqueness of Icelandic nature. It’s vast heathlands contain the largest untouched wetlands in Iceland, very popular for angling and habitat for numerous bird species. From there you can drive into the highlands, though the roads are only accessible with large jeeps. Kolugljúfur, a magnificent canyon in Víðidalsá river named after the giantess Kola, is another unforgettable site. The river runs through the canyon in two spectacular waterfalls named Kolufossar. Borgvirki fort is a 10-15 m high columnar basalt formation which is believed to be the site of an old battle and a fort for the district. There’s an observation platform at it’s top and a breathtaking view over the Húnaflói Bay.
But the biggest attractions in Húnaþing Westra are, of course, the region’s most adorable inhabitants; the seals. Every year, travellers flock to the beautiful Vatnsnes peninsula, cameras in hand, to observe these gentle creatures and their offspring, rolling around on the shores and in the sea. This is without a doubt one of the best spots in Iceland for viewing seals, the main locations being Svalbarð, Illugastaðir and Ósar. You can also go seal-watching and sea-angling on a boat from Hvammstangi. The summer midnight-sailing is something you won’t forget!
Rest and play
You’ll find accomodation in all price ranges in Húnaþing vestra. There are several excellent camping sites to choose from, situated in Hvammstangi, Sæberg and Laugarbakki. The wonderful holiday farm, Dæli in Víðidalur, also has a camping site in addition to it’s lovely guesthouse, a hot pot, sauna and a mini golf course. Other accommodation possibilities include both guesthouses in Hvammstangi and, of course, the highly rated Hotel Edda in Laugarbakki. Gauksmýri in Línakradalur is another place to take note of. A beautiful farm that, in recent years, has carried out an ambitious project of reclaiming the area’s wetland and putting up facilities for birdwatching as well as running a horse rental and a restaurant. Brekkulækur in Miðfjörður has also been offering riding tours and accommodation for years and is an ever-popular stop for travellers. Ósar at Vatnsnes peninsula, situated right by Hvítserkur, is a popular hostel and a great spot for viewing seals. The Icelandic Seal Centre in Hvammstangi is a highly informative research centre and a museum that has an ongoing exhibition and is well worth a visit. Other museums of note are Reykir Regional Museum in Hrútafjörður and the Commercial Museum in Hvammstangi which both offer interesting exhibitions about the area’s history. Also be sure not to miss the wonderful Bardúsa craft gallery in Hvammstangi. Unwinding in the town’s swimmingpool after an eventful day is a must.
For further information go to the Tourist information centre, located in the Seal Centre in Hvammstangi.